My Rector and his family are taking a well-deserved vacation. Since the Rector’s sons usually provide the acolytes, on Sunday I was called into duty to be the crucifer, chalice-bearer, etc. for the Assistant Rector, who was the celebrant.
Now we had a small congregation and a good amount of consecrated wine. So after everyone had received, the Assistant Rector had quite a bit of port to down. He looked like he was suffering a bit as he consuming, so I whispered, “Let me know if you need some help.” And, indeed, he handed the chalice over to me and I helped out.
Now, we use good port, so I usually don’t mind downing a little extra. But, wow, this was too much. I didn’t get sick (or drunk), but it wasn’t a pleasant feeling either. You see, I have a good weakness in that once I get to a certain point of alcohol consumption (well before drunkenness), I and my body just do want anymore. (Yes, that helps keep me out of trouble.) And I pushed myself past that point rather quickly in helping my brother. I joked with people that I “took one for the team.”
Afterward, we discussed the origins of consuming all the wine after reception. My understanding now is that it is something both low and high church people have practiced. Low church, to avoid the leftovers being worshipped; high church, to avoid the leftovers being treated irreverently.
If anyone has further insight into this practice, please feel free to comment.
But both the Assistant Rector and I agree that a little less wine should be consecrated next time.